Auburn comes into the contest following a 63-60 victory at Alabama State on Friday night while Charleston Southern cruised to a 90-60 Saturday victory over the University of Virginia-Wise, an NAIA program from the Appalachian League, the same conference that Auburn's exhibition opponent, Bluefield College, plays in.
The Tigers and Buccaneers have played one mutual opponent this season. Auburn opened with a 77-62 loss at Tulane. Charleston Southern fell 66-60 to the Green Wave. The other game for the Buccaneers was an 85-74 victory over Anderson.
"They played Tulane very tough," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo says of Coach Barclay Radebaugh's Buccaneers. "It was a two-point game with two minutes to go and had some shots coming down the stretch. They are very physical. I like Barclay's team.
"We have to be able to defend the three, and we have to be able to put the ball in the basket, especially from the foul line if we are able to get there," Lebo says.
A seldom seen statistic is that the Tigers are shooting a higher percentage from the field at 47.7 percent than they are at the free throw line (46.6 percent). Auburn has put up 64 foul shots in three games and made 30.
Auburn's number one free throw offender among players who have seen significant playing time is junior forward Korvotney Barber, who is hitting just 25 percent at 3-12. That is slightly better than sophomore guard DeWayne Reed, who has made 4-15 (26.7 percent), and sophomore forward Lucas Hargrove (2-7 for 28.6 percent). Rasheem Barrett, who has struggled with his field goal shooting (36.7 percent), is 4-4 at the free throw line.
There has been no struggling from the field for Barber, who is coming off his career-high scoring game with 22 vs. Alabama State. The junior is averaging 15 points per game and hitting 77.8 percent of his field goals.
Matt Heramb, who came off the bench for a career- high 17 points vs. Alabama State, is also shooting 77.8 percent from the field, but has just nine field goal attempts while Barber has 27.
Matt Heramb (right) sparked the Tigers in their win at Alabama State.
Monday's game will be just the second time the Tigers have played Charleston Southern. The Tigers were a 69-53 winner last December at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
The Buccaneers are led in scoring by 5-10 freshman guard Jermarco Warren, who is averaging 17.7 points and four assists per game.
Charleston Southern's number two points producer is 6-6, 215 freshman Omar Carter, who comes off the bench to score 14 per game while adding 3.3 rebounds.
The other starters are 6-9, 205 sophomore center Giedrius Knysas from Lithuania, who is averaging 7.0 points and 6.3 rebounds, and 6-7, 210 sophomore forward Quinton Goods, who is averaging 6.0 points and 4.3 rebounds.
The Buccaneers are hitting 42 percent of their three-point shots, something that has caught Lebo's attention. "They are playing two very good freshmen in Jamarco Warren, their point guard averaging 18 points a game, and Omar Carter, who has been starting at small forward," the Auburn coach says. "They are both excellent shooters and are playing with a lot of confidence. In this game, more than anything else, we haven't played a team with the perimeter shooting that Charleston Southern has. Chris Moore is a very good shooter as well."
Auburn, which is making 35.6 percent of its three-point shots, will again be without forward Quan Prowell, whose suspension runs for two more games. He is expected to be back Dec. 5th when the Tigers play West Virginia in Birmingham.
Monday's game is the second of five consecutive contests away from Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum for Lebo's team, which used just eight players in its win vs. Alabama State. One of those players, 7-1 center Boubacar Sylla, played just one minute and was pulled when it was obvious he didn't have enough mobility to play defense after suffering an ankle sprain last Tuesday in Auburn's victory over Kennesaw State.